In many European countries, development policy has long been perceived as a technocratic policy field that received little attention in public debates. Lately, however, development policy and international cooperation – not least due to the COVID-19 pandemic – seem to be increasingly discussed in parliamentary debates, the media or at the executive level.
A recently published Special Issue of the Journal of Common Market Studies (JCMS) examines to what extent there has been an actual politicisation of development policy at EU level and in the member states, and which factors influence this trend. The Special Issue, edited by Christine Hackenesch and Julian Bergmann of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), together with Jan Orbie (Ghent University), comprises ten contributions that examine different aspects of politicisation in arenas such as the national parliaments, the media and in relation to public opinion. Particularly in the context of migration policies since 2015, a stronger polarisation of European development policy can be observed, which is partly fuelled by right-wing populist parties. At the same time, individual contributions show an increasing politicisation of European development cooperation at the level of partner countries, especially in the context of promoting LGBTI human rights and with regard to EU trade policy. This in turn has also led to depoliticisation efforts on the European side.
The JCMS Special Issue and the individual contributions are freely available via the following link: